355 Pakistani Opfer von US-Bomben
Steinmeier kritisiert bei Besuch in Islamabad Angriffe als kontraproduktiv *
Bereits über 30 Mal haben in diesem Jahr US-Luftüberfälle auf Pakistan stattgefunden. Der deutsche Außenminister äußerte bei seinem Besuch vorsichtige Kritik.
Die zunehmenden US-Angriffe auf Ziele in Pakistan haben in diesem Jahr einem Medienbericht zufolge 355 Menschen das Leben gekostet, die meisten davon Zivilisten. Die pakistanische Zeitung »The News« berichtete am Dienstag (28. Okt.) unter Berufung auf Zahlen des Innenministeriums in Islamabad, 248 weitere Menschen seien verletzt worden. Von den insgesamt 32 US-Angriffen hätten nur acht ihr eigentliches Ziel getroffen. Dabei seien 36 Angehörige des Terrornetzwerks Al Qaida oder der Taliban getötet worden. Die anderen 24 Angriffe hätten 301 Zivilisten und 18 pakistanische Sicherheitskräfte das Leben gekostet.
Unter den 32 grenzüberschreitenden US-Angriffen aus Afghanistan seien Raketen- und Drohnenangriffe sowie eine Bodenoperation gewesen, berichtete »The News« weiter. Zuletzt waren bei einem US-Raketenangriff in den Stammesgebieten am Sonntag 20 Menschen getötet worden, darunter ein Taliban-Kommandeur. Zivile Opfer bei US-Angriffen haben den öffentlichen Unmut angeheizt und Forderungen nach einem Ende der Zusammenarbeit im »Anti-Terror-Kampf« Vorschub geleistet.
Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier kritisierte am Dienstag (28. Okt.) bei einem Besuch in Islamabad US-Angriffe im pakistanischen Grenzgebiet zu Afghanistan. Solche Operationen ohne Wissen der pakistanischen Regierung seien »kontraproduktiv«. Der Senat, das Oberhaus des Parlaments in Islamabad, hatte am Montag den jüngsten US-Raketenangriff verurteilt. In einer einstimmig verabschiedeten Resolution hieß es, solche Angriffe »stellen eine grobe Verletzung unserer nationalen Souveränität und unseres Territoriums dar«. Pakistan ist offiziell ein enger Partner der USA im Kampf gegen den internationalen Terrorismus.
Steinmeier erklärte weiter, Pakistan benötige bereits in den nächsten Tagen internationale Hilfe, um einem drohenden finanziellen Kollaps zu entgehen. Das von einer schweren Krise erschütterte asiatische Land könne nicht noch Wochen oder Monate auf Unterstützung warten, sagte er am Dienstag nach Gesprächen mit der pakistanischen Führung.
Ein »angemessener« Kredit des Internationalen Währungsfonds solle möglichst binnen einer Woche bereitgestellt werden, sagte Steinmeier. Deutschland werde sich aktiv dafür einsetzen, damit das Land »über die Runden kommt«. Der Vize-Kanzler kam bei seinem Aufenthalt in Islamabad mit dem neuen Präsidenten Asif Ali Zardari, Außenminister Shah Mehmood Qureshi sowie Vertretern der Zivilgesellschaft zusammen. Pakistan benötigt nach Angaben der Regierung in allernächster Zeit 3,5 bis 4,5 Milliarden US-Dollar als Soforthilfe.
Am Dienstagnachmittag (28. Okt.) traf Steinmeier zu zweitägigen Gesprächen in der saudischen Hauptstadt Riad ein.
* Aus: Neues Deutschland, 29. Oktober 2008
Interview von Außenminister Steinmeier mit der pakistanischen Zeitung "The News"
Minister Steinmeier, what brings you to Pakistan?
My country has an interest in Pakistan's stabilization and sustainable development. The situation in Pakistan at the moment is not easy. Germany would like to assist the Pakistanis and the newly elected democratic government during this difficult time. We would like to help solve the short-term problems the country is facing, namely security threats due to terrorism and violence, and the economic and financial crisis the country finds itself in. Long-term, in the interest of Pakistan, we would like to contribute to strengthening the rule of law, human rights and civil society as a whole.
Germany is a member of the new Group of “Friends of a Democratic Pakistan" – what role does this group have to play?
I personally worked to help establish this Group of Friends. Its establishment sends a sincere message to Pakistan that the international community would like to make a concerted contribution to the country's economic and political stabilization. But the Group of Friends will not be an all-purpose tool. The major international finance organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and not least the International Monetary Fund have a decisive role to play here. The Group of Friends also looks to the region. That is why it is especially important that, for instance, a number of Gulf states are members of the Group. The Gulf region has a special responsibility here. I will also be visiting that region on this trip.
The first Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in 2001 announced several goals for stabilizing Afghanistan, do you see any progress for the achievement of those goals in Afghanistan in the last 6 years?
In Bonn, we launched the largest reconstruction campaign the international community has undertaken since the end of the Second World War. Even if we haven't yet achieved all of our goals, we have made a lot of progress over the last six years. Here I'm talking about roads and health care, about education and job opportunities for young people. I'm also talking about Afghans having a say through Parliament. Finally, the country can begin to regain hope for the future. We all need to work together to achieve this. The vast majority of Afghans know that occupation is not what we have in mind! We will only maintain a military presence in the country until the Afghans are again able to assume full responsibility for their security.
Being prominently involved in Afghanistan, do you agree with some experts that it is now time to talk to the Taliban in Afghanistan because the West cannot win against the Taliban by military means? What is your reaction to some reports regarding indirect talks between the Karzai administration and the Taliban in Saudi Arabia?
I would caution against interpreting readiness to enter into dialogue as a sign of weakness! On the basis of the Afghan Constitution, talks with forces who are prepared to forego violence and terror can well be part of an inter-Afghan reconciliation process. Bearing in mind past experiences and knowledge of the Taliban's close contacts to Al Qaeda, one might be less than optimistic, but in the end responsibility lies with the Afghan Government. What is important to me is that the successes of reconstruction are not jeopardized by such talks. I share this view with the United Nations and am thankful that the Afghan Government has also taken this position.
Do you support the idea for the deployment of regular Indian troops in Afghanistan?
I am not aware of such a consideration. However, I am sure that we will be successful in Afghanistan only if there is also progress in regional cooperation.
During the G8 presidency last year, you launched a G8 initiative to promote cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Where do we stand here?
This is what I am asking my Pakistan and Afghan friends! Afghan-Pakistan cooperation cannot be engineered from outside or forced upon you from abroad. It depends on the willingness of both Pakistanis and Afghans to take on a sense of ownership for a common future. We can only provide assistance. Beginning with our G8 meeting in Potsdam, near Berlin, last year, the G8 has proposed more than 150 projects to promote better bilateral cooperation, from student exchanges to border controls. One of the aims of my visit is to discuss how we can also strengthen the political and regional dimension of the initiative. I welcome the fact that both President Karzai and President Zardari have recently made it clear that increased bilateral cooperation is not only desirable, but absolutely crucial. I'm counting on both sides to intensify their bilateral cooperation – Germany and the G8 as a whole stand ready to assist.
Will you support any talks by the Pakistan Government with the militants in FATA?
This is, first of all, a decision for the Pakistan Government to take. The situation is complex, and it is not my Government's place to advise our Pakistani friends on such an issue. But we welcome the clear words by President Zardari and both houses of the Pakistan Parliament in this regard. However, government decisions are only one side of the coin. I'm under the impression that the population in Pakistan is tired of militants, whether foreign or local. And only if the Government and local populations work together will the militants learn that they are not welcome in Pakistan.
What are the major achievements in the war against terror? Is the West winning the war against terror since September 11, 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan?
I am not a friend of this wording because it suggests that terror can be defeated by military means alone. It is clear that Germany and its partners have a common interest in protecting themselves from the threat of international terrorism. But we shouldn't simplify things: there are numerous threats that require careful strategies. You will not stop Al Qaeda by drilling a well, but you might help reduce militant opposition if you provide job prospects to the young and uneducated in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Don't you think that the presence of foreign troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased misunderstandings between ordinary Muslims and the West?
We are not naïve. Foreign troops are not welcomed by all parts of the population. But the vast majority of Afghans support the security assistance provided by the West. They understand that it is not occupation we strive for, but rather a self-sustaining Afghan security sector that would make a foreign presence superfluous and allow peaceful development. And let me underline that we have never defined the issue at stake here as a problem between "the Muslims" and "the West". We oppose militant extremism, not Islam. Terrorism is immoral – no matter what apparently divine will it claims to serve! Terrorism diminishes development perspectives for all. I know that we share this view with Pakistan and the millions of Pakistanis looking for a better future.
How do you assess the bilateral relations between Germany and Pakistan? Where will we stand when you come back next time?
We are on a promising path! What most people think of first are business relations and political dialogue. And rightly so, as Germany is Pakistan's most important EU trading partner and considering that the number of Pakistan exhibitors at German trade fairs is steadily increasing. The experience we have had with METRO is also a success: METRO has recently opened two wholesale centers in Lahore and Islamabad and is planning to open several more across Pakistan. I hope that other German companies will follow this example.
Going beyond business, few people know that Germans also have a strong interest in Asia's cultural heritage. For example, one of the most prestigious museums in Germany – the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn – will host an exhibition on Gandhara Art in November. And the German cultural presence in Pakistan has been greatly expanded recently – we have established institutions such as the Goethe-Institut in Karachi or the Annemarie Schimmel House in Lahore. Education is also of particular value to us. We are establishing a worldwide network of schools that offer German as a foreign language, including schools in Pakistan. Currently, more than 100 students from Pakistan start or continue higher education studies at German universities every year. We wish to expand this further. And finally, plans to open a German-Pakistan Technical University in Lahore are well underway. So I hope the fruits of all of these efforts will be evident upon my next visit.
Quelle: Website dese Auswärtigen Amts, 29. Oktober 2008; www.auswaertiges-amt.de
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